Smart Tip: For Easier Meal Planning, Keep a Dinner Diary

published Jul 16, 2012
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

If you are overwhelmed by the challenge of coming up with healthy, tasty, easy-to-execute dinners for your household every night, you might want to take a cue from Jenny Rosenstrach, the woman behind the blog and cookbook Dinner a Love Story. She has written down every dinner she’s had since 1998 — and the habit has made meal-planning a whole lot easier.

Back when they first got married, Rosenstrach and her husband used their dinner diary to plan meals for the week ahead, which made shopping easier and more efficient, and took away the nightly headache of figuring out dinner at the last minute. Now that they are better at improvising, she just records what they ate after the fact. Fourteen years and 4,500 dinners later, she has a catalogue that makes it easy to figure out family favorites, which was useful while writing her cookbook.

I will go on record to say that never in the history of cookbooks has it been so easy to pick a line-up of recipes that were destined to become keepers: I just looked at the ones that showed up month after month.

You may not be quite so diligent, but having a record of the meals you have cooked and enjoyed is not only useful, it also creates a different sort of family memento, one we find quite fascinating.

Do you keep a dinner diary?

(Image: Jenny Rosenstrach/Bon Appetit)